Jeanine Connor | Collinsville Real Estate, Troy Real Estate, Maryville Real Estate


If you've always dreamed of owning a house, there is no need to wait to enter the real estate market. In fact, there are many reasons to kick off a house search today, and these include:

1. You can upgrade from your current residence.

If you live with family members or friends or rent an apartment, buying a home may represent an upgrade. Because when you purchase a residence, you can reap the benefits of having your very own living space.

There is no shortage of high-quality houses available in cities and towns nationwide. Regardless of whether you prefer the comfort of small town living or the hustle and bustle of city life, you can check out a broad range of houses at your convenience. Then, you can discover your dream residence, submit an offer to purchase it and move one step closer to making your homeownership dream come true.

2. Many home financing options are available.

One of the biggest issues that often prevents people from pursuing homes is a lack of financing. Fortunately, banks and credit unions offer a variety of mortgage options designed for individuals of all incomes.

Whether it's a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage, you're sure to find a mortgage option that complements your finances perfectly. Plus, banks and credit unions are ready to teach you everything you need to know about different types of mortgages. And if you are unsure about how a mortgage works or which mortgage option to choose, friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists are available to assist you.

3. You can receive plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey.

Let's face it – buying a home can be a daunting task, particularly for an individual who is entering the real estate market for the first time. The sheer volume of top-notch houses sometimes makes it tough to differentiate a good home from a great one. Meanwhile, navigating the homebuying process can be stressful, and challenges may arise that make it difficult for a homebuyer to achieve his or her desired results.

If you enter the housing market today, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner. This housing market professional will offer expert insights into all aspects of the homebuying journey. In addition, he or she will go the extra mile to ensure that you can quickly and effortlessly acquire your dream home at a price that matches your budget.

Of course, a real estate agent will help you map out a successful homebuying strategy too. He or she will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you plan accordingly. And if you have concerns or questions at any point during the property buying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.

Launch a home search today – you'll be glad you did. If you pursue your dream home with help from a real estate agent, you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.


You’ve been binging on HGTV and DIY network every weekend while you save up your money and you’re ready to take the plunge. Your agent tours you through several potentials and there it is … the perfect corner lot, the mediocre house with the awkward layout, chopped up floor plan, aging kitchen, and dated bathrooms. It’s just waiting to reveal shiplap behind the cracked plaster, original hardwood floors under the stained and dusty carpet, and other treasures you can only dream about until their uncovered.

You make the deal … now it’s all yours. Where do you go from here?

Find the right professional
Ideally, a contractor with renovation experience toured the property with you, casting a professional eye over potential problems and exciting possibilities before you made the deal. If not, engage one now. Renovations require specific knowledge of structural issues like which walls to safely remove giving you that open-concept floor plan and which might be load-bearing. Experienced pros know when to call in an engineer to determine whether to expose the beams or if the wiring needs pulling. 

Make a plan
As with any project, make a basic plan before you start. Unlike new-builds, however, your plan might be more general until you’ve removed walls and studs, discarded old cabinets and fixtures, and revealed the location of existing drainpipes, wiring, support structures, and other hidden gems. With everything visible determined, it’s time for demolition. Just know that with a renovation, once demolition starts, plans can change. A supporting beam here, an unmovable drain there, a hidden chimney under that plaster … could derail your perfect original plans. When that happens, a pro can help you figure out what do.

Don’t underestimate time
Watching a 57-minute renovation on television might give you an unrealistic expectation of how long it might be until your home is ready. After all, you don’t have a trove of assistants ordering cabinets, changing out flooring samples and visiting showrooms to cull through items for you. Choice fatigue (the inability to choose between too many choices) can stymy a project for a novice.

Normal delays, hidden issues
You’ve planned, then modified the plans after the demo, selected, deselected, then re-selected the cabinets, flooring, and fixtures. Now it’s time to get approvals and permits. Moving a project through the approval process in your municipality could be smooth sailing or rife with delays. Your professional contractor should help you navigate this process, but waiting for a permit can add days, or weeks to a project.

In addition to the normal delays, your demolition may uncover other issues that require remediation. These include lead, mold, asbestos, termite damage, shifting foundations, broken pipes, and myriad other possibilities. Bringing wiring up to code and changing out electrical panels consumes precious time and adds to the delays.

Before taking on a fixer-upper, seek the advice of a real estate professional with renovation experience to help you make a plan, and plan for contingencies.


Buying a new home is a big decision and one that many wonder if they are truly ready for.

Use this guide to determine if you are ready to start house hunting:

  1. Thirty percent of your income can cover a mortgage payment for your ideal home

The ability to afford month to month payments is incredibly important. Staying within the recommended percentages when it comes to budgeting helps you failsafe your finances from potential future hardship. At the very least you want your mortgage payment to be as close as possible to the thirty percent marker of your income.

  1. You’re in a secure job.

In addition to having an income that can sufficiently support the month to month payments you also want to ensure that that income is a reliable source. Signs of a reliable income are that you have been with your current company for longer than two years with several months at the same pay rate.

  1. You have a great credit score

This one shouldn’t come as any surprise to you. A great credit score will not just increase your eligibility for financing but also for a great interest rate. If your score falls in the “good” region you can take steps to bring up your score fairly quickly, as far as scores go,  before applying.

  1. You have a down payment saved up

A down payment is a big savings goal to tackle. So if you’ve already done the math and saved up a sizeable sum for the downpayment on your dream house you are most certainly ready! Ideally, this amount should be around twenty percent of the sale price.

  1. You’ve prepared a prospective budget

If you already have a down payment saved you at the very least have part of this step taken care of! Knowing your future homeowners budget doesn’t just include your typical expenses plus a mortgage payment. You also want to factor in homeowners insurance, potential HOA (Homeowner Association) fees, and maintenance costs.

  1. You’re ready to build equity - or it’s your next financial goal

For those scratching their heads, equity is the amount of your home that you actually own. This is the ratio between your homes value, the amount you have paid and the amount you owe. As you continue to make payments on your home your equity grows. Equity can also increase if the value of your property increases.

  1. You’re ready for stability

If you’re ready to settle down in one place for at least the next five years you’re looking for stability. Perhaps you’re ready to put down some roots and start a family or become a part of a local community. Owning your own home provides you a steady living expense, builds equity and gives you (almost) complete control of your lifestyle.



A home showing represents an important opportunity for a homebuyer. And if you know the right questions to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine whether a residence is right for you.

Ultimately, there are several crucial questions to ask during a home showing, and these include:

1. Why did the seller list this home?

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to sell his or her house. Yet this information rarely, if ever, is included in a home listing. Fortunately, a home showing gives you the opportunity to analyze a seller's perspective as you weigh the pros and cons of submitting an offer to acquire a residence.

If a seller listed a house due to severe home maintenance issues that have escalated over time, this is a red flag for any buyer. On the other hand, if a home seller simply is looking to upgrade or downgrade or prefers to live elsewhere, you may want to further pursue his or her residence.

2. Is there any flexibility on the home price?

The initial asking price of a home usually is flexible, but only to a certain extent. Determining the level of flexibility on an initial asking price is paramount, as this may dictate the offer that you make on a house.

However, it is important to submit a competitive home offer, regardless of whether a seller is flexible about the price of a residence. Because if you submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you can reduce the risk of missing out on an opportunity to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Is there anything else I need to know about this home?

Following an in-depth home showing, you likely will have lots of information about a house and its condition. To conclude the showing, you should ask if there is anything else you need to know about a residence. This will enable you to receive the final pieces of information you need to decide how to proceed with a home.

Remember, it is your duty as a homebuyer to make an informed decision. If you understand exactly what to ask during a home showing, you can obtain the insights you need to determine the best course of action.

When it comes to preparing for a home showing, it helps to get assistance from a real estate agent too. In fact, hiring a real estate agent will make it simple for you to navigate the ups and downs of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to set up home showings and attend these events with you. He or she can provide comprehensive home insights throughout a home showing. Plus, after a home showing, a real estate agent will help you decide whether to submit an offer on a house or continue your pursuit of your dream residence.

Get ready for a home showing – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can receive the help you need to fully analyze a house.


If you’re planning on buying a new home sometime in the near future, you may be wondering when the best time of year to buy a home really is. There’s many theories about when the best time of year to buy a home is. It’s widely known that inventory on homes available for sale picks up in spring. That means that inventory increases, but so too does the volume of competition for people who are buying homes. Just because spring is busy, in real estate that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best time to buy. 


Spring is, however, a great time to sell your home. The same goes for the summer as the buying frenzy continues right into the fall for most home buyers. As a buyer or a seller, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the housing market no matter what time of year you’re making your property transactions. Whether you’re buying or selling, you’ll want to know how to get the best bang for your buck. While many people are ready for a change after the long winter months, yet, many people can hold out through other times of the year. 


The Market Changes With The Seasons


As the seasons change, so too do the number of people selling versus the number of people who are looking to buy. If you don’t mind the competition and know what you’re looking for, any time is a good time to buy. As a buyer, you’ll either be facing low inventory, tough competition, or a combination of the two. If you’re scoping out the type of home you’d like to live in, you’ll want to browse in the spring. Have your pre-approval ready just in case you find a home you love at the right price. If you’re not in a rush, spring shopping can give you a good idea of what’s out there for you. You’ll be able to narrow down the type of home you want and where you’d like to live when the time is right.


There’s Really No Golden Rule For Timing


When it comes to buying and selling real estate, there is no sweet spot during the year as to when you’ll have better luck. Being prepared and understanding the trends in your area are a good start. When you hire the right real estate agent, they can be your advocate throughout the process of either buying or selling. Agents can research different trends from the time of year that properties are sold in a certain neighborhood right through to the correct pricing for a home just like yours or the one you are looking for.